As the School Year Zips By

20151005_124717Hard to believe, but we’ve been in school for eight weeks already and the first quarter is rapidly drawing to a close.

What kind of year has it been so far?

A year of growth and confidence. I am teaching English 11 for the third year so there’s a comfort in working with familiar material. The lessons have been spruced up a bit, some new ones added, others dropped, as we align the lessons more closely to the Performance Based Assessments.

I’m teaching Creative Writing for the second time so am also treading familiar territory, tightening up what I did last year and bringing a bit more focus and coherence to the structure. I have five Advanced Creative Writing students so I know how to adapt and accommodate their needs as growing writers. For example, while the newbies are at work on a short story, I am having the advanced team write novellas, expanding their writing. I’ll have them do more peer reviewing and workshopping as well.

20151008_074332The new course this time around is Journalism and if anything has been a frustration it is this since I should be brimming with stories and instead am pulling teeth to get material turned in. We finally began populating our digital paper last week, just in time for Spirit Week and Homecoming so I hope we can begin to grow our audience.  I even invited Sam Davis, Assistant Manager Editor-News from the Baltimore Sun to come in this week and emphasize the importance and responsibility that comes with being a student journalist.

It’s interesting having some students for the third year in a row while I have some in two different classes this year. It create a comfort and familiarity but it can also mean we’re falling into habits, both good and bad. I know their strengths and weaknesses and can adapt while they learn how to push my buttons.

My classroom remains a work in progress. The computers arrived three weeks ago but the tables only got here Friday. Now we have to wire them and have the technicians set up the 30 desktops. With luck, a week or so from now, I will have the functioning writing lab and newspaper office I envisioned. The Administration has been incredibly supportive of my efforts so I am giving it my all, hoping not to let them, the kids, or me down.

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